Now that P Diddy, Magic Johnson and Robert Rodriguez have cable channels, can Comcast help non-celebrities, too?
As part of its promise to help increase minority ownership in media, Comcast announced deals to distribute channels developed by rapper Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, retired NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Spy Kids director Robert Rodriguez.
But I wonder, once the hype of these superstar deals settles, whether Comcast will offer the same opportunities to media entrepreneurs of color who are not famous.
According to the New York Times, Comcast announced its support for four minority-owned cable channels, including one owned by non-celebrities which would feature programming targeted to children under age 3, BabyFirst Americas. Diddy's Revolt is a music and pop culture channel, Johnson's Aspire features positive images of African Americans and Rodriguez's El Ray offers general entertainment for Latinos.
The channels help fulfill a promise made to minority-focused advocacy groups when Comcast was seeking government approval to purchase a controlling interest in NBCUniversal. The company eventually promised to create eight new channels over eight years which would be majority owned and/or operated by black and Hispanic people.
It makes sense that channels with high profile names would be announced first, to make the biggest media splash. But I hope entrepreneurs who don't already have lots of fame and resources get a similar chance.
Something tells me a cable channel with Diddy or Johnson in the mix would garner interest from cable providers regardless of any diversity deals (according to the Los Angeles Times, Johnson already owns a radio network, along with the company which controls VIBE magazine and rights to the episodes of classic TV show Soul Train)
Hopefully, the diversity Comcast encourages also includes folks with a great idea who just need a break to make it happen.